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How do we think about institutional racism in the American police force?
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Defund the police

This lobby calls for the reallocation of police funding into community initiatives that would put an end to systemic racism. These include mental health, housing and education. An excessive amount of police funding is spent on army-grade weapons. Proponents call for a detailed examination of police funding, and investigation into what many see as its militarisation. This group includes Senator lhan Omar who has called for the government "to completely dismantle the police department because it is a cancer, rotten to its core."

The Argument

The push to defund the police is not simply a push for sanctions against a broken and structurally racist system. Defunding the police is the solution for a failed system that will continue to fail the public until it is removed entirely. The concept of defunding the police wouldn’t remove the presence of law enforcement completely. Instead it would shift the focus towards a more community based approach. The funds would instead go to community outreach programs and social services [1]. A study using 60 years of data found that over the years, increasing police presence and force has done nothing to lower crime rates. Instead, many social scientists argue that equal, quality education, as well as solid work infrastructure is what successfully reduces crime in communities[2]. Defunding the police would reallocate money into educational institutions and, in turn, create more jobs. Many people of color simply do not trust the police. This history of distrust stems all the way back to the founding of law enforcement in America, which started as slave patrol in the south[3]. Many communities of color still don’t feel protected by their local police departments and would rather see the safety of their community in the hands of their community[1].

Counter arguments

A common counter to the call to defund the police is that defunding would only make matters worse, and that it is better to focus on reform. Erroll G. Southers, a black ex-cop says that community programs that the police have put into place such as health and wellness for mothers or the elderly, after-school activities, community block parties and much more would all be the first to disappear following the budget cuts[4]. Like Southers, many other opponents to defunding the police argue that defunding will only exacerbate the racial inequalities that are already present.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 04:57 UTC

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